NiCHE has archived audio presentations from
Evans, Stirling. "Badlands and Bones:
Locating Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, within a Transnational History of
North American Badlands" Historical and Global Perspectives on Provincial,
Local & Regional Parks in Canada. 29 October 2010.
Stirling Evans is a Professor and the
Louise Welsh Chair in Southern Plains and Borderlands History, in the
Department of History at the University of Oklahoma. Abstract:
“Badlands and Bones” tracks the
environmental and conservation history of Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Preservation of this place was unique as one of the first efforts to recognize
the scenic beauty of badlands—landscapes created by millions of years of
erosion and characterized by prairie grasslands, buttes and gullies, hoo-doos,
caprocks, and spectacular colours in the strata of eroded hillsides. More
unique is that DPP’s creation was meant to preserve the unequalled
paleontological resources of the region. It is there where more dinosaur
fossils have been discovered in one place than anywhere else on earth. Thus,
the government of Alberta drew on the expert testimony of scientists, archaeologists,
geologists, fossil hunters, and rock hounds to establish this park in 1955.
Indeed, geology, paleontology, and conservation all fused in this park to
protect an area so unique that UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in
Part of the park’s history revolves around the way it has been interpreted.
Drawing from the rich records of its early years (preserved in the Provincial
Archives of Alberta and at the Glenbow Museum Archives), “Badlands and Bones”
illustrates how the park became a popular tourist destination replete with
ranger-guided tours, ampitheatre presentations, and children’s activities.
Finally, DPP is part of a larger, transnational system of grassland and desert
badlands that stretch from northern Mexico to the Prairie Provinces. This
presentation will locate DPP among over seventy identified badlands areas
(preserved in a variety of different methods) in the North American West. How
the park is unique, and perhaps how it is not compared to its U.S.
counterparts, will be part of the focus of the paper.